You’ve got a good idea of where you want to take your career, and you’re ready to start looking for your next exciting opportunity. Let’s talk about strategies for a successful job search.
#1 – Focus
To be successful, your job search efforts need to be targeted. Otherwise, you can easily become overwhelmed and spend far too much time and energy on activities that do not suit your goals.
#2 – Vary your approach
Most career development professionals agree: the majority of jobs are never posted publicly. Back in Module 3, you learned about networking and tapping into the hidden job market. Remember: reaching out to current and new network contacts – as well as cold calling employers – can be a great way to find out about job opportunities that have not been posted publicly. Although we spend much of this module discussing posted jobs, keep in mind that applying to posted jobs is just one method of job searching. Be sure to include job fairs – whether virtual or in-person – as part of your job search strategy. Many larger companies and industries – including construction, technology, and healthcare – use job fairs as their primary recruitment strategy.
Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is the term for learning through an education program that also includes authentic workplace experiences, like an apprenticeship, internship, co-op, clinical/field placement, or applied research project. Combined with extracurriculars like temporary or part-time jobs, clubs, and athletics, WIL is a highly valuable form of experience that you can draw upon during your job search. Whether it’s the knowledge and skills you developed, or the people you met, remember to include your WIL and extracurricular activities when planning out your job search activities.
#3 – Put your job search on “project status”
It is often said that job searching is a full-time job. By treating your job search as the serious project it is, you’ll have more success planning, executing, and making measurable progress. Some best practices:
- Plan out and keep track of your job search activities.
- Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound)
- Schedule time for your tasks. Use a calendar.
- Keep a record of your job search activities in one place, including contact information.
Setting goals that are SMART – that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound – will help to make steady progress on activities that support your job search. Here are some examples of the some SMART job search goals:
- Draft the Education section of my resume by noon today.
- Reach out to 3 connections on LinkedIn before Friday morning.
- Spend 15 minutes tomorrow evening searching for job postings online.
- Take a 5-minute stretch break for every 30 minutes I spend writing a cover letter.
To really make your SMART goals work for you, don’t hesitate: schedule your activities in a calendar!
A note on job search scams
Sadly, there are some bad actors who try to take advantage of job seekers. They do this by posing as a potential employer, then using the information you provide to take money or valuable information from you. Increasingly, we hear about job scams posted on web sites or sent to individuals by email. Job scams do exist and so it is important to be aware of what to look for so that you can protect yourself if someone tries to deceive you.
Here are some warning signs that you may be dealing with a scam:
- You are promised a lot of earnings for little to no effort.
- You are asked to pay for something – like training, materials, or a credit report – as part of the application process.
- You are asked to courier, transfer, or “wire” money to someone.
- You’re offered a job without an application or interview.
- You are asked for banking information, such as credit card data.
- There is no job contact information provided or there is no valid company website.
Here are some strategies to avoid scams and protect yourself while looking for work.
- Don’t click any links in an email from an unknown source.
- Never put any of the following personal information on an application form, resume, or cover letter:
- Your Social Insurance Number
- Your age or date of birth
- Your marital status
- Your driver’s license number
- Your health card number
- Your banking or financial information
If you are contacted by a potential employer and you think it might be a scam, here are some tips:
- Get the employer’s name, address, phone number, website, and email address.
- Check websites and research the company to see if it is legitimate.
- Look up the company on LinkedIn to find current employees.
- Google the company name or email address provided along with the word “scam”.
- Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it just might be.
General Job Boards
We have pulled together a fantastic collection of online job boards for you to explore!
There are a number of truly powerful job search sites where you can search for active postings. These “aggregators” or “general job boards” pull postings from multiple sources so that you can search across sites from just one board. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Canada’s Job Bank typically has over 80,000 jobs posted at any one time. You can simply enter a job title and location (or other keywords) and a list of results will appear. You can also use filters to narrow your results or use the Advanced Search for even more precise results.
- With over 250 million visitors a month (FOOTNOTE: Google Analytics, Unique Visitors, February 2020), Indeed provides free access to search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies.
- WowJobs lets you search over 250,000 jobs from thousands of job boards, employment and career sites in Canada. Search by keyword, location, posting date, and more.
- Are you wondering what it’s really like to work at a particular organization? Check out company reviews on Indeed or Glassdoor to explore what people are saying about organizations across Canada and beyond.
- If you are seeking volunteer opportunities, you can make use of Volunteer Canada, WorkInNonProfits.ca and Charity Village.
- Charity Village is also a great resource for information about Canadian charitable and non-profit organizations along with webinars, newsletters and articles.
Niche Job Boards and Sector Employers
Niche boards are job boards that focus on a particular industry or sector. There are plenty of niche job boards and related tools to help you explore careers (and locate employers) in specific sectors. So, be sure to include in your job search plan the resources that link to your area of study or expertise.
We’ve compiled this PDF list of niche job boards that you can review and download. If you can think of a niche job board that we didn’t list, make sure to leave a note on the Padlet down below! Just click the ‘+’ button to make a post and help crowdsource with other learners!
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